With funky beats, an acoustic guitar, drum machines and most any other instrument,
Clarence Greenwood, also known as Citizen Cope, runs the gamut of emotion on his self-titled debut album.
Each instrument has its own voice, giving the album an eclectic sound that is both experimental and mainstream. His voice may not be the best, but the closed mouth vocals he spurts are intriguing, expressing varying opinions about politics and the world in general. The album fluidly transitions from one song to the next - increasing in strength and tone, then backing off, allowing the listener to absorb each message and melody.
Cope has the ability to incorporate many different instruments on a track while still producing a song that is coherent, avoiding a messy pile of sounds. Each song is its own entity, retaining its own independent sound while still contributing to the general feel of the album. Cope's love for all genres of music - from Stevie Wonder's funky soul to the reggae panache of Bob Marley - is evident in the varying production of the songs. Throwing soul, reggae and funk into the mix creates a unique sound, while each song is kept relatively simple and easy to understand.
Love, political rants and comments about violence against one another are among the varying subject matter heard throughout the album. The second track, "Contact," is provocative and powerful, with the repetition of "contact" in the chorus underscoring equality and individual worth.
The simplest song on the album, "Salvation," is quiet and mellow, yet dark and mysterious. Cope strums his out-of-tune guitar while the vocals creep into your ears, touching on the subjects of loss and the devil. In the song, the devil comes up to Washington, D.C., from Georgia to censure a musician for expressing himself and reaching people. Cope's lyrics create such vivid imagery that the song plays out like a short film.
Get content from The Daily Lobo delivered to your inbox
Cope has been compared to Everlast and Beck because of his use of rhythms and beats, but the more one listens to the album, the more one realizes that these comparisons fall somewhat short of his style. Cope's debut album is a good listen with some memorable songs that are fun to listen to and politically conscientious.